TO REACH OUT TO THE FIRST TIMERS
In the taluk of Vandavasi, exists a village called MARUTHAADU, lives a widower named Kanniappan, aged 85, a daily waged labourer. With the demise of his wife five years back, he is since living for the past two years, in this village along with his family, which is a IRRULAR HOUSING COLONY.
ELDEST KANNIAPPAN AGED 85 (1)
DAUGHTER KARUPPAI AGED ABOUT 55 (2)
FIRST SON BABU, HIS WIFE (3,4)
SECOND SON PRABHU, HIS WIFE, FATHER IN LAW (5.6.7)
THIRD SON EZHUMALAI
The family of seven who were under bondage at veerambakkam, in pudhur village, for more than 13 years and have been rescued from bondage for the past two years and have shifted to this Maruthaadu village. Knowing for a fact, at the District Administration level, that this family of seven (excepting the last son)had never voted in their life time, immediate actions were taken to include them in the voters list. This way the family gets to vote for the first time ever, on 18.4.2019 for the parliamentary elections.
The highlighting feature is that, on 15th April, 2019, the District Collector, Sri. K.S. KANDASAMY, IAS, flanked with the Returning Officer, Election Commission Office, Vandavasi, District Backward and Minorities welfare officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Vandavasi, other Government officials visited the village directly. He ensured that Kanniappan and his family members were made aware of their voting rights, the EVM, VVPAT machines were shown to them, educated them how the voting machines work and what and has to be done on the D-Day. The District Collector also addressed the 23 families, comprising of voters, living in the Irrular Housing Colony about the importance of voting and the machine operations. He has ensured that he leaves no stones unturned.
When asked about his initiative, drive to come directly and educate the villagers, this is what he said, “We came to know for a fact that Kanniappan aged 85 and his family had been rescued from bondage two years back. They are going to be voting for the first time, in their lifetime. People who have been rescued as bonded labourers in the District of Thiruvannamalai and to vote in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, 7 people from vandavasi taluk, 10 people from Pollur taluk have been added in the voters list this time. It is also surprising to know that none of these people have ever voted in their lifetime”.
He continued, “Since the upcoming Parliamentary elections are held in summer time, in expectation of a huge voters coming in the midday time, we have arranged waiting rooms, in which they can wait, after collecting tokens while standing in queue initially. They can go to the waiting room and their token numbers shall be called out for them to cast their vote and stay in shade, instead of standing in the hot sun.
We have zeroed the polling booths which consist of maximum differently abled people which comprises of 240. To enable them to vote without any personal difficulty, at 11 that day morning, at a public place a special enabling vehicle would be waiting, to take them to their respective polling booths, to help them to vote and take them back to the same place. Apart from this, there are special workers who would assist people, who come for voting, by wheel chair assistance and they have been engaged at Rs.250/- per day’s remuneration.
The District Collectors, initiative to get, all old and destitute people to get added on the voters list, the saints who have been left last time, have been added this time around and new ones too. His 100% voting awareness programmes with the general public, Anganwadi members, his public rally with the physically challenged, schools for the parents, colleges for the first time voters are commendable and worth mentioning here.
KUDOS TO YOU SIR, KEEP SERVING THE UNSERVED-THIS INCLUSION IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE TO REACH THOSE, WHO HAVE NOT BEEN REACHED AT ALL!!
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, ADVOCATE & SOCIAL ACTIVIST.